Preachers — the Key to Space Exploration

This comes from the University of Dayton, which Wikipedia says is “an American private Roman Catholic national research university in Ohio’s sixth-largest city, Dayton. Founded in 1850 by the Society of Mary (Marianists), it is one of three Marianist universities in the nation and the largest private university in Ohio.”

The news item at their website is Separation of Church and Space?, subtitled “Research by a political science professor shows opinions on space exploration are influenced by a person’s religious beliefs.” Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Whether you believe the Philae probe’s landing on a speeding comet is a monumental advance or a colossal waste might depend on your religion, according to a University of Dayton researcher.

Many in the space community see the landing as a critical step in colonizing the solar system, such as NASA Planetary Science Division Director Jim Green who said, “I truly believe that a single-planet species will not survive long. It’s our destiny to move off this planet.”

That’s a common viewpoint, and one that we share. Stephen Hawking has said much the same thing. But what does religion have to do with it? You’re about to find out. The news item says:

Yet Evangelical Protestants are much surer Jesus will return in the next 40 years than that humans will make significant strides in space exploration, according to research by University of Dayton political science assistant professor Joshua Ambrosius. “Evangelicals have been hesitant to recognize the discoveries of modern science — from evolutionary origins to climate change,” Ambrosius said. “The data show that this overall attitude extends into space.”

Here’s his page at the university’s website: Joshua D. Ambrosius. Let’s read on:

Ambrosius used data from the General Social Survey and three Pew surveys to compare knowledge, interest and support for space exploration among Catholics, Evangelicals, Mainline Protestants, Jews, Eastern religions and those with no religion. He found Evangelicals, who account for one-quarter of the U.S. population, are the least knowledgeable, interested and supportive of space exploration, while Jews and members of Eastern traditions were most attentive and supportive.

We’re shocked — shocked! The article continues:

He also found that while regular church attendance, along with other measures of traditional religious belief like a high view of the authority of the Bible and belief in creationism, exert a negative effect on support for space exploration, clergy support for science exerts a significant positive effect.

That makes sense — for those who get their information and attitudes about science from preachers. Here’s more:

Evangelicals in particular were twice as likely to recognize the benefits of space exploration if their pastors speak positively about science.

Don’t those people have any other source of information? Moving along:

But these leaders have to contend with oppositional voices like that of Ken Ham, fundamentalist founder of “Answers in Genesis” and the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. Ham has made the argument that search for alien life and habitable planets is pointless because God uniquely created Earth and the life on it, and he has also said the search for alien life is “driven by man’s rebellion against God.”

Good ol’ Hambo — dragging humanity down into the slime. One last quote from Ambrosius:

The space community can have success with increased outreach to religious groups with the message that space exploration, for means of discovering life-bearing or sustaining planets or otherwise, does not conflict with their faith and is in their — and the entire human race’s — best interest.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Good luck reaching out to Hambo!

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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11 responses to “Preachers — the Key to Space Exploration

  1. “Yet Evangelical Protestants are much surer Jesus will return in the next 40 years than that humans will make significant strides in space exploration”. Why is the return expected in the next forty years? What about all the predictions over the last 2000 years. I don’t know why they feel optimistic about this but they, in my opinion, they just don’t have anything on which to base such a prediction.

  2. First, we need to spread the story that the sun will be eaten by a mutant star goat.

    Then we get to work on the B-Ark.

    From the Hitchhiker’s Guide:

    “Yes, so anyway,” he resumed, “the idea was that into the first ship, the ‘A’ ship, would go all the brilliant leaders, the scientists, the great artists, you know, all the achievers; and into the third, or ‘C’ ship, would go all the people who did the actual work, who made things and did things, and then into the `B’ ship – that’s us – would go everyone else, the middlemen you see.”

    He smiled happily at them.

    “And we were sent off first,” he concluded, and hummed a little bathing tune.

  3. @Cynic I don’t pretend to know why or have any answers to the question of why people believe anything they hear with regards to creation and religion in general. But I do have a degree in Social Science education and even though I’ve reached the age where I’ve forgotten as much as I remember I still pay attention and learn and I have a theory. I think people are afraid of the unknown and death in particular. They are grasping at anything that poses a ray of hope for eternity. Its much easier to believe in a god that will just appear one day, in any form, and make everything better than to exercise any power of critical thinking they may possess and solve their own problems. I believe that down thru the eons beginning with the first shamans and witch doctors, etc., smart people have used this fear to their advantage and this has evolved (there’s that word) into religion. So much so that they believe their own lines of BS. I’m going to stop before this gets to complicated but that’s my theory. All it takes is for someone, anyone to be willing to hammer at weak unthinking minds enuff with a convincing line of BS and they will believe. Anything.

    “The search for extraterrestrial life is really driven by man’s rebellion against God in a desperate attempt to supposedly prove evolution!”
    “We love science.”

    There is a word that describes such people. It begins with ‘h’.

  5. Ask this who where the first to America (indians don’t count)?
    Not the religious but the criminals, the explorers, the gold searchers. When they showed the way the religious Aholes who did not like being told to stuff it!! Then realized hey we can go there and be as bigoted as we like as there is no one there to stop us or that we care about.
    When planets are opened up for people the religious, who still think their chief liar is coming in 40 yrs, will flock there to do there as they tried here.

  6. Being the dull, humorless, cult leader that he is, Hambo fears knowledge and curiosity among his drooling sheeple–for both traits will surely drive a wedge between Hambo’s boney, greedy hands and the droolers’ purses. His livelihood is, after all, is based on fear and ignorance being the prime drivers among his flock of clueless gits.

  7. Evangelicals are the prime audience of the Dishonesty Institute. That’s where they find their donors and dumb and dumber folks.

  8. Ashley Haworth-roberts: “There is a word that describes such people. It begins with ‘h’.”

    I prefer a two word phrase, which also starts with ‘h’, and refers to the south end of a northbound equine.

  9. I think that the late Joe Bageant had the right of it. One of his theses was that evangelical (as opposed to moderate) Protestants in the US are almost universally descended from Scots-Irish stock, mostly themselves transplanted from the Scottish borders to Northern Ireland in the seventeenth century. They are the Orangemen of Northern Ireland to this day, and a bloody curse to the place they are; but many of them re-emigrated to America in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and took their proud cultural traditions with them. These include clannishness; utter distrust of government and avoidance of taxation; intolerance; touchiness; alcoholism; a prediliction for random violence; authoritarianism; and, of course, Calvinistic religion, with emphasis on some of its worst qualities, such as theocratic thought, complete intolerance (again) and extreme suspicion of education or scholarship.

    If Bageant was right, then we may look to history, ancestry and culture to explain evangelical religion and its attitudes to science. Since I think that we may look to history, ancestry and culture to explain religion itself, I think he was right.

    Consider Ham himself. The surname probably derives from the county of Caithness, in the Scots borders, where it is recorded as early as 1290, deriving from the even earlier Old Norse. So it is likely that Ham, too, derives from the same stock, only his ancestors emigrated to Australia. But now he’s at home in Kentucky. Where, I might say, America is very welcome to him. No, don’t thank us. It’s the least we could do.

  10. @Dave Luckett: Seems that you’re on to something. Many Scots-Irish who came to America chose to settle in the hills of Appalachia, where some very strange religious cults germinated, including the snake-handlers, among others; mostly if not entirely creationist. You’re right — Ham fits right in, even if Petersburg, Ky. is just outside Cincinnati, not in Appalachia. Many Appalachians have re-settled in the Cincinnati area, drawn by the search for work. Not many jobs in Dogpatch.

  11. @Ashley Haworth-robert:

    There is a word that describes such people. It begins with ‘h’.